Greg Boyd did a sermon many years ago called "The Dark Night of the Soul". It was about those moments where everything you've known and believed and hoped seems to collapse and fail. The lights go out and we crawl around in despair. Many things are questioned...our reality, our comfort, our securities, our God...
How does someone who loves God dearly move forward when suffocated by so much unsurity? And how does a girl who loves a life full of hope and wonder encourage others to seek the good Father when she does not believe it anymore?
This "Dark Night" is what I'm calling my summer of 2011. Storms that destroy, babies that die, violence, cancer that kills, power-hungry narcissists, loss of relationship, addictions that own, dysfunctions that rob...I've found myself so utterly angry, sad, overwhelmed...and actively engaged in rage against God Himself. Perhaps the thing that rocked my soul the most was that I no longer knew myself. This girl who knew such confidence in the good Father, who could generate hope in tough times, who could curl up in God's lap and find rest, who believed in life with an Eden-heart...just didn't exist. And...she found the dialogue of others pertaining to faith and miracles and hope to be a load of...well, you know.
So I was telling a friend about my struggles, and he wondered if, perhaps, God was maturing me in the midst of the struggles...growing me up to be able to be stronger and more responsible in the storms that come. Oh boy, did I visualize popping his head off like the top of a dandelion! Alas, I did not. ;) Instead, I filed it away...until now...because I had a sneaking suspicion that I needed to revisit it someday with the Father.
Here's where I think he was going before I shut him out. ;) It's not that God is specifically sending these losses...those storms that shake the heart...for the direct purpose of maturing. Goodness, I'm not sure He sends them at all. The broken world might just be responsible. And, it's not that God just sits in heaven expecting us to "grin and bear it". He's the "With" God after all. He desires that we go through life together...Father and Child. What He does want, though, is for His children to possess a strength of character that allows them to depend on Him whatever comes...to be joyful in asking for miracles but humble in trusting His presence and provision regardless of reprieve and to be grateful...always grateful.
What I know now is that my sadness...my grief...while legitimate...was also exposing places where God wanted to go deeper. Places that He desires me to know His presence and love in ways beyond what I experience now. Places that would ground me more solidly in Him...accessing more genuine hope, wonder, intimacy...strength.
What I think is so wonderful...and what I think the core should be in a life with miracles or not...is that a life lived in such a way is purely fed from The Life...intimacy with the Father. THAT'S where a life marked by power, authority and HUMILITY can really come from. A life focused and fed...not by the miracle...but by the miracle-maker. Relationship is the point...one that breeds maturity.
And that's...well, it's the kind of "growing up" that I hope can come from the storms I face. And that's the girl I want to be.